Renewable energy production will exacerbate mining threats to biodiversity

This was just published in Nature Communications.

That’s gonna leave a mark.

Here is the Abstract, (emphasis mine):

Renewable energy production is necessary to halt climate change and reverse associated biodiversity losses. However, generating the required technologies and infrastructure will drive an increase in the production of many metals, creating new mining threats for biodiversity. Here, we map mining areas and assess their spatial coincidence with biodiversity conservation sites and priorities.

Mining potentially influences 50 million km2 of Earth’s land surface, with 8% coinciding with Protected Areas, 7% with Key Biodiversity Areas, and 16% with Remaining Wilderness. Most mining areas (82%) target materials needed for renewable energy production, and areas that overlap with Protected Areas and Remaining Wilderness contain a greater density of mines (our indicator of threat severity) compared to the overlapping mining areas that target other materials.

Mining threats to biodiversity will increase as more mines target materials for renewable energy production and, without strategic planning, these new threats to biodiversity may surpass those averted by climate change mitigation.

This is not convenient.

Here they discuss “Future mining threats to biodiversity”.

The global area influenced by mining will almost certainly grow in extent and density in future, and the increased demand for renewable energy technologies and infrastructure will likely be one contributing factor. While diverting some of the materials used in non-renewable energy infrastructure may minimize threats of renewable energy production to biodiversity, fossil fuels will still likely play an important role in meeting the future energy demands of a growing global population. We discovered a greater proportion of pre-operational mines targeting materials needed for renewable energy production (83.9%) compared to operational mines targeting these materials (72.8%; Supplementary Table 2), and that pre-operational mining areas targeting the materials critical for renewables also seem more dense than those targeting other materials (3.2 vs. 2.7; Supplementary Table 2). Increasing the extent and density of mining areas will obviously cause additional threats to biodiversity, and our analysis reveals that a greater proportion of mines targeting materials for renewable energy production may further exacerbate threats to biodiversity in some areas (here demonstrated by their increased mining density within Key Biodiversity Areas and Remaining Wilderness at the global scale).

Careful strategic planning is urgently required to ensure that mining threats to biodiversity caused by renewable energy production do not surpass the threats averted by climate change mitigation and any effort to slow fossil fuel extraction and use. Habitat loss and degradation currently threaten >80% of endangered species, while climate change directly affects 20%37. While we cannot yet quantify potential habitat losses associated with future mining for renewable energies (and compare this to any reduced risks of averting climate change), our results illustrate that associated habitat loss could be a major issue. At the local scale, minimizing these impacts will require effective environmental impact assessments and management. Importantly, all new projects must adhere strictly to the principals of the Mitigation Hierarchy38, where biodiversity impacts are first avoided where possible before allowing compensation activities elsewhere. While compensation may help to overcome some of the expected biodiversity impacts of mining in some places39, rarely does this approach achieve No Net Loss outcomes universally39,40.

There is urgent need to understand the size of mining risks to biodiversity (climate change, and efforts to avert it) and strategically account for them in conservation plans and policies. Yet, none of these potential tradeoffs are seriously considered in international climate policies3, nor are new mining threats addressed in global discussions around post-2020 United Nation’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity28,41. Necessary actions include strengthening policies to avoid negative consequences of mining in places fundamentally important for conservation outcomes, and developing necessary landscape plans that explicitly address current and future mining threats. These actions must also be supported by a significant research effort to overcome current knowledge deficits. A systematic understanding of the spatially explicit consequences (rather than potential threats, as investigated here) of various mining activities on specific biodiversity features, including those that occur in marine systems and at varying distances from mine sites (rather than within a predefined distance of 50 km, as done here), is required.

Green vs Green?

Full paper here.

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September 3, 2020 6:29 am

Charles, the two quotes are the same, as far as I can tell. Shouldn’t the second quote be different from the first?

Stay safe and healthy, all.


[reply] oops, fixed

September 3, 2020 6:34 am

“Mining potentially influences 50 million km2 of Earth’s land surface”

That’s 10% of all the land in the world and about 5 times the land area of the usa. Can that be right? Maybe the key phrase is “potentially influences” meaning not land area used by mining but lord knows. what. It’s eco talk.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 7:20 am

Wonder how much of that land is eventually reclaimed. In developed countries land reclamation is the norm in mining. Btw i went to college at the colorado school of mines in golden colorado where the west remains.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 8:00 am

Mined land reclamation 101

Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 12:13 pm

A farming friend in Ohio had a big section of his land strip mined for coal in the 1960’s with a reclamation contract. What resulted was the only flat fields on his farm, and boy were they productive. Here we have a limestone quarry at least 90 years old. Along the road where overburden has been dumped, you can see mature forest at the earliest end, going along a kilometer to the first trees getting a foothold, to raw piles of stone. People think nature is fragile. Anti-fragile is a better description.

John F Hultquist
Reply to  Fran
September 3, 2020 12:42 pm

For Nature, I prefer the word relentless.

Reply to  Fran
September 3, 2020 12:53 pm

September 3, 2020 at 12:13 pm

“People think nature is fragile. Anti-fragile is a better description.”

Well said, you’re exactly right. The trouble is most people can’t appreciate the effect of time…they look at things from their very limited life span. (eg. “Gosh, it’s getting warmer and it’s all our fault.” Well, no, it’s actually called summer!)

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Fran
September 5, 2020 5:37 pm

I had a small coal strip mine start up on some farmland right across the creek from me about 20 years ago. I wasn’t too happy about it, I like my peace and quiet, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

It wasn’t a big operation, they stripped maybe a few football fields worth of land using bulldozers and big dump trucks. And then about two years after they started they closed up shop and left.

But before they left, they reclaimed the land and put it back to the way it was before, and I walked across that land about a year later, and you would have never know a bulldozer had ever been out there. They did an excellent job of reclaiming the land, and my hat is off to them.

Oklahoma, where I live, works very hard to clean up all old oil fields and coal mines and they have done an excellent job over the years. They advertise on television looking for people who have old oil wells on their land so they can reclaim the land and it doesn’t cost the landowner anything.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 2:24 pm

What land reclamation? This will be a merry go round forever, because the short life span of renewables.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 2:50 pm

I have been using Google Earth to look at coal and dolomite mining reclamation schemes in the NE UK that I was responsible for in the late 70s. Moonscapes of black dust, rock, clinker, wreckage etc.
I knew that we had done a good job, re-profiling escarpents, restoring drainage, tree-planting to stabilise slopes, some areas intended eventually to be suitable for grazing sheep, but some sites have gone way beyond what I thought possible. Mature forest, recreation spaces and tracks, even hay and vegetable crops.

Curious George
Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 7:31 am

“Potentially” is almost as good as “might”. The Nature Communications proves again that it is not worth reading.

Steve Case
Reply to  Curious George
September 3, 2020 8:21 am

Curious George September 3, 2020 at 7:31 am
“Potentially” is almost as good as “might”.

Thanks for that one! I’ve added it to my file of factoids, quotes, smart remarks and weasel words.

Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 3, 2020 12:01 pm

No it is not 10 percent of all the land in the world (~ earth) . It is almost 10 percent of the total surface of the earth which totals a tiny bit over 510 million km² , but 71% or 361 nillion km² of that is ocean surface so the total land is only 149 million km² , 50 million km^2 is ~ 30% of the total land area of the earth. But apart fram that this “potentially influenced by mining area of the earth ” is very likely a number calculated by bean counters trained at the University of Laputa department for creative accountancy, or some similiar institution on another galaxy.

John Kelly
Reply to  Chaamjamal
September 4, 2020 1:08 pm

No way does mining cover that vast area. A stupid number like that shoots the credibility of the paper, if it had any to Starr with.

Dr. Bob
September 3, 2020 6:34 am

EV’s, Solar panels, Wind Farms, Fuel Cells, Battery storage devices, and many other “Green” technologies all require large amounts of rare and precious metals, especially rare earth elements for magnets needed for any electrical motor or generator. Fuel cells will require platinum, palladium, and/or other metals that require large mining operations.
I was involved in one project that would use Ruthenium (Ru) as a catalyst. The project was not large, but the metals requirements for that one project was 25% of the world’s supply of Ru.
With projected mining activities for EV’s requiring 700,000 tons of earth movement for 1 ton of product, the amount of mining that will have to occur is staggering.

Reply to  Dr. Bob
September 3, 2020 8:49 am

Funny, I have no seen anything about using all-electric, as opposed to permanent magnet motors that require neodymium and other rare earths. It seems logical that all-electric makes more overall sense. Anyone who wants a really efficient motor could just use high purity silver for the windings for minimum resistance.

There is probably some loss of efficiency, but all electric motors are the foundation of our industries. Permanent magnet motors are only used in specialized cases such as machine control where relatively small motors may be required.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Philo
September 3, 2020 10:18 am

Philo –> “high purity silver”

You think copper theft is atrocious, wait till high purity silver begins to show up. You had better put your motors in a concrete bunker.

Bryan A
Reply to  Jim Gorman
September 3, 2020 12:00 pm

They already steal catalytic converters for their platinum

Bryan A
Reply to  Jim Gorman
September 3, 2020 12:09 pm

What’s needed is an element/molecule that s easily available and plentiful that can power the world’s energy demands for the next 300 years or more. Something so plentiful that stealing it yields no profit margin. Something with a high density energy/weight ratio.
Perhaps Oil and Coal

Carl Friis-Hansen
Reply to  Philo
September 3, 2020 1:02 pm

“Permanent magnet motors are only used in specialized cases such as machine control where relatively small motors may be required.”

Not totally sure what you mean Philo.
However, many newer wind turbines use direct drive generators, as suggested by Henrik Stiesdal. These types use permanent magnets, as the asynchronous motor needs higher rotational speed and 90° phase shifted current, approx 20% of delivered current, in order to work. The permanent magnet motors will deliver even without being connected to a stable grid with 3-phase 50 or 60Hz.

But, Philo is correct regarding many small control motors are still with permanent magnets, but they are a dying breed, as the electronic to drive a brush less AC motor these days is cheap.

I think the only permanent magnets I have are those in my hard disk drives 🙂

Reply to  Carl Friis-Hansen
September 4, 2020 6:38 am

I think you prove my point, Carl. Rare earth magnets are a hi-tech, high cost solution to a problem chosen primarily because it is “new”. It makes a lot of sense for some items in aircraft where low weight is essential. In wind mills it is nice because it simplifies an otherwise complex machine.

The bottom line is that we have immense amounts of iron readily available to make steel, and less but still a lot, of copper. Even with the huge number of windmills(will never happen) suggested by green new deals it would only be a footnote in the iron usage list of things

The paper examined here presents the first ever I’ve seen for an analysis of the downsides of wind and solar production. They aren’t suitable for massive amounts of electricity on an electrical grid and, even with high tech permanent magnet motors, don’t come anywhere near supporting the expected world demand.

If you must go with windmills there are millions of tons of iron that could do the same job using asynchronous motor without the rare earths that are rare enough and useful enough to be used in other more productive ways.

I do think the idea of trying to build an economy around wind and solar is a dead end pipe dream.

September 3, 2020 6:44 am

Maybe they are using the crustal abundance mentality model as their basis for land area impact. That is one neuron deep and 50 million sq km across. But hey, it got published in the great waste bin of history.

Nick Schroeder
September 3, 2020 6:45 am

Like that’s news.

Ron Long
September 3, 2020 6:54 am

As a life-long participant in all phases of mining activity, from exploration to reclamation, in 13 different countries around the world, I can assure everyone that most mines can be operated without damage to the ecosystem and without riling up the neighbors (some mineralized spots are just to difficult to have a reasonable expectation of avoiding disasters and they should be left in place for the Star Trek Generation). However, the difference in pollution or not depends largely on the prevailing culture. Capitalism versus corruption? No contest, Capitalism wins, especially considering the demands of the shareholders to achieve the “social license” before starting any large expenditures. Socialism/dictators/corruption? You can do whatever you want as long as you pay the right people. The Bidens Buddies in China? Forget about it.

September 3, 2020 7:02 am

To many, products just magically appear and the process of how those products are made from raw materials to finished product is virtually unknown.

Reply to  Ken
September 3, 2020 7:06 am


Reply to  Ken
September 3, 2020 7:30 am

Nor do they understand that the majority of the value added to raw materials comes from energy and as energy costs rise, so does the cost of everything else.

September 3, 2020 7:14 am

New but unproven technology offers ‘sustainable battery technology’ ? All without threats to biodiversity …
From the link
Technology of self charging ‘batteries’ made from nuclear reactor waste is what they tout. However these are NOT truly batteries …

Update, August 27, 2020: We have contacted NDB to clarify several of their claims in this article. At this stage we believe the power density claims may relate to the power delivered by the supercapacitor part of the cell, rather than to how much energy the carbon-14 diamond itself is capable of generating. If this is the case, we may be looking at a very slow trickle charge from the diamond into the supercapacitor, and a high power output from the supercapacitor.

Such a system – a trickle-charged supercapacitor – could be useful for sustained, low-power applications, and for emergency applications like Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) that can slowly charge themselves for weeks or months between periods of discharge, but would not generate power anywhere near quickly enough for use in a long-range electric car or other applications requiring sustained high power outputs from a compact battery pack.

So apart from the difficulty of making utterly flawless nano-diamonds from super refined single isotopes of carbon, it’s not a ‘real’ battery but a rechargeable supercapacitor, with all the destructibility and reliability that these offer.

I’m sceptical of these ‘batteries’ as these look much like the cold fusion all over again. However I’m willing to be proved wrong and will be if they ever get to be a commercial reality (and get around all the excessive legislation about anything nuclear).

September 3, 2020 7:59 am

Somebody over at “Nature” finally read some WUWT posts.

September 3, 2020 8:01 am

The Green Beast must really be pro mining if they think that renewables are the answer to everything that ails civilization. I have asked many an eco loon that are heavy to supporting all the renewables and EV’s if they realize that we need an order of magnitude more rare earths, lithium and copper/nickel and other required metals if the GND were ever implemented and they always say No to mining, at least ‘not in my back yard’. Not to mention much more base load electricity of some kind if we go full on electrification of everything. There seems to major disconnect from reality when these inconvenient facts are brought up.

Reply to  Earthling2
September 3, 2020 1:21 pm

My brother is a ‘mechanical engineer’. He has bought all the green cr@p, an EV and a hybred because of its range.

ps. The green blob doesn’t think there is a problem about supplying all those metals. They think all except a few chosen (them of course) don’t need any cars or washing machines, and they think population reduction will deal with the rest of the problems. Just ask my brother – it’s hard to find a topic of conversation that will not lead to a fight with him.

Bruce Ploetz
September 3, 2020 8:04 am

Simple solution, doesn’t involve clearing the planet of deplorable humans:

Self-replicating robotic asteroid and comet mining.

The initial investment of raw materials is much lower than any form of “renewable” scheme. No life up there to face extinction. Slave robots are currently culturally acceptable, except for Scott Adams.

We will have to re-invent Asimov’s three laws to prevent them from becoming “self-aware”, and the issue of the theory that the seeds of life originally came from off-planet must be considered. Other than that, it’s win-win all the way.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Bruce Ploetz
September 3, 2020 9:10 am

You know, that Asimov added a forth law published later in the Foundation Series. ( Worth reading ! )

September 3, 2020 8:04 am

Thorium can be obtained as a byproduct of existing mining…in fact it is now classed as a undesirable element that must be safely removed …a pollutant even. Thorium liquid salts cooled nuclear reactors would mostly replace coal mining.

Reply to  T. C. Clark
September 3, 2020 8:37 am

Thorium is largely produced in the Neodymium refinement for instance. Monazite and, in less proportion, Bastnäsite have thorium in the cristal structure. So, nowadays, eolian energy, considering the huge amount of neodymium used, is one of the main culprits for thorium and uranium waste.

September 3, 2020 8:32 am

I hope that several articles like this one, in alarmists own ground (Nature), will turn the tide in the direction of reasonableness or rationality.

M Seward
September 3, 2020 8:54 am

‘Renewable’ energy capture deices – the new Thalidomide.

SHouldn’t we fully test these ideas through and look at the potential downsides?

What? And miss out on all that public attention, self congratulations for saving the world, adulation from certain quarters, invites to international conferences and then all the grants, fees, commissions etc etc? Nah!

September 3, 2020 8:59 am

Right… because we wouldn’t have been mining if we weren’t building renewables… and the materials used in renewables wouldn’t have gone into anything else?

(And anyway recycling steel and aluminium and other stuff using renewable energy happens…

Tim Gorman
Reply to  griff
September 3, 2020 10:10 am

They are not “renewables”. They are UNRELIABLES! Get your adjective right. Solar cells don’t regrow as they wear out. Wind turbines don’t regrow as components wear out.

Using your logic cars are “renewables” as are coal-fired plants as are nat gas generators. But none of these are “renewables”. They are “replaceables” but they are not “renwables”.

If you want to talk about “renewables” then talk about things that propagate themselves.

Sunlight may be renewable but solar cells are not. Wind may be renewable but wind turbines are not.

Krishna Gans
Reply to  Tim Gorman
September 3, 2020 10:43 am

We had a fine reliable day today, no wind, no sun 😀

Phil Salmon
Reply to  griff
September 3, 2020 12:21 pm

Did you miss the fact that in order to achieve the UK’s states goal of electric only cars by 2035, the UK alone will require the entire current global mining production of cobalt and neodymium?

Not to mention 3/4 of the lithium and 1/2 the copper production?

O silly me I forgot – the new clean energy “super-weapon” is going to be unveiled any day now. Any day …

Reply to  griff
September 3, 2020 12:35 pm

“and the materials used in renewables wouldn’t have gone into anything else?”

WRONG as always. !

Unreliables are responsible for the vast rise in pollution in extraction of rare earths in China.

Quantities that would never be needed elsewhere.

Not in your backyard, griff, so just ignore it. !

The wind turbine blades are mostly unrecyclable, and are ending up in landfill as toxic waste.

Correct in that all that concrete and steel used for wind turbine bases, that will be left there after the wind turbines fall apart in some 10-20 years, could have been used for useful infrastructure.

4 Eyes
Reply to  fred250
September 3, 2020 3:30 pm

And Fred, Many of the windmills will have to be decommissioned by taxpayers because the generating company will have gone broke either voluntarily or deliberately, despite huge subsidies, to rise again like a phoenix (or a building company) to trade under another name and go through the whole process again. Big Green is no different to Big anything else – they just play the game that Governments, activists and consumers let them play. I feel grumpy this morning – got up too early.

Reply to  griff
September 3, 2020 2:34 pm

Yes, Griff, there is, but with much lower environmental impacts due to much higher energy density. Besides that, wind and solar will never be able to stand alone, regardless of battery storage, and that means parallel run mining and energy generation as back up, resulting in higher costs and pollution.

Reply to  griff
September 4, 2020 8:02 am

Classic strawman.
Completely ignore the fact that renewables causes a huge increase in the amount of mining.

Krishna Gans
September 3, 2020 9:00 am

Renewable energy production is necessary to halt climate change and reverse associated biodiversity losses.

That’s an Oxymoron, isn’t it ?

September 3, 2020 9:05 am

Now,I’m a professional organization that doesn’t produce anything but conventions. How am I going to maximize my income? By sitting back and picking random subjects to talk about? Nobody will show up. But if I try to push fantasy… Yeah, that’s the ticket!

Tim Gorman
September 3, 2020 10:03 am

Come on! These are not “renewable energy supply”! They are UNRELIABLE energy supply. The changing of that one word tells you everything you need to know about them. It would explain to low-info citizen in much more detail what they are.

Let the change start here.When you talk about solar and wind, use the word UNRELIABLE instead of renewable.

September 3, 2020 10:30 am

Where can I read about how wind farms and solar panel complexes interfere with biodiversity? If this doesn’t exist why do they focus on mining as the problem? The area dedicated to renewables, if they are to make a real contribution to energy production, greatly exceeds the mining area required to produce the commodities used.

Reply to  ChristianS
September 3, 2020 10:39 am

Yes, the blight factor is a singular and unique risk posed by Green technology to the environment and biodiversity on an immediate and forward-looking basis.

Reply to  ChristianS
September 4, 2020 5:45 am

In March this year the BBC’s Matt McGrath (amazingly) reported on research that showed wind, solar and hydro power installations posed a “growing threat to key conservation areas”. The researchers, led by Dr José Rehbein from the University of Queensland, published their findings in the journal Global Change Biology ( They found over 2,200 renewable energy facilities already operating inside “important biodiversity areas”, with more than 900 currently being built.

Dr Rehbein was “extremely alarmed” by the findings: ‘Energy facilities and the infrastructure around them such as roads and increased human activity can be incredibly damaging to the natural environment. Many of these developments, when not well planned for, are not compatible with biodiversity conservation.”

David Roger Wells
September 3, 2020 11:20 am

Greens to impose belief in their Alice in Wonderland utopian whimsy bleat about capitalism resource depletion consumerism and consumption. But when you analyse their supposed solution to capitalism resource depletion consumerism and consumption the only difference is the exclusion of consumerism. So the solution to resource depletion consumerism consumption and capitalism is resource depletion capitalism and consumption. Business as usual is drill for oil and gas excavate for coal. To be green you need to drill for gas oil and excavate for coal and consume the product to generate an unreliable source of energy generation – wind and solar – and still burn coal oil and gas as back up for wind and solar. I am confused as to how the green solution is more environmentally friendly than business as usual because is Germany is the showcase for green it does not appear to work.

As for solar panels file:///C:/Users/welli/Downloads/Why-do-we-burn-coal-and-trees-to-make-solar-panels%20(5).pdf. Greens continuously whinge about chopping down Amazon rainforest for cattle and soya but get extraordinarily upset when it is pointed out by greens – Charles Moore – that virgin forest is chopped down to install solar panels and don’t appear to understanding the hypocrisy of their solution. The latest example is 490 square miles in Virginia laid to waste for solar panels to save the planet. It is ironic that the first step in the process of saving the planet demands the total destruction of the environment. I remain confused. Because it appears to me that the cure is worse than the disease.

Phil Salmon
September 3, 2020 11:45 am

The devastation of the earth’s surface and biosphere, now and increasingly in future, is
(a) much worse than anything humans have done before – the “cure” is far worse than the disease, and
(b) is the price to be paid for imbecilic superstitious fear of nuclear power and ray-diyayshunn.

Phil Salmon
Reply to  Phil Salmon
September 3, 2020 11:46 am

I meant the devastation caused by renewable energy – wind and solar death-farms.

September 3, 2020 11:51 am

If all the far left wing GW alarmist would sacrifice themselves and leave the planet, it should instantly fix the (non-existent) problem. Instead…they want to sacrifice everyone who doesn’t think like them, and that would be impossible to understand their warped minds for any right-minded person. OR…
Take all the fear mongering GW leaders and take all their CO2 polluting cars, trucks, planes and big homes away. They can no longer use fossil fuels…period and see how they feel. They have to rely on only solar and wind for 10 years. If caught cheating, they do 10 years in a special prison w/o fossil fuel use.
Just saying…

Climate believer
September 3, 2020 12:54 pm

It’s obvious that future need for Lithium in EV batteries, means of course that new mines will be opened up to supply that increasing demand.

They don’t call it “White Gold” for nothing, and the “Lithium Rush” is well underway.

An example of this is Guayatayoc Lithium Projects on the Argentinian side of the Andes, in what they call the Lithium Triangle of Argentina, Chile and Bolivia.

Another in Northern Nevada Li2CO3, not that far from Tesla’s Gigafactory, which apparently could require between 60,000 and 85,000 tons of lithium carbonate annually to sustain its battery production operations alone.

To add to all this, because these batteries weigh so much, they have to make everything else out of aluminium! an eco-socialist’s nightmare as the aluminium production process requires huge amounts of electricity.

…….and they have the gall to call all this “clean and green”….

September 3, 2020 1:19 pm

Apparently the EU has woken up to the short supply of critical minerals as well.
And the fact that they are in the vast majority mined/traded/owned by the Chinese.

But no worries a new ‘strategic plan’ is being worked on.
The document came out today and is titled;
‘COM(2020) 474 – critical raw materials resilience: charting a path towards greater security and sustainability’

It can be downloaded at

I haven’t read it in detail yet but the analysis and underlying data is quite good even if it is full of CC alarmism and pipe dreams.

My conclusion is that in the ‘green future’ there will be an unprecedented mining boom!

Stay sane,

September 3, 2020 2:35 pm

There is no need to argue against renewable energy policies. Those leading them and those following are running straight at a brick wall. Why stop them?

Geoff Sherrington
September 3, 2020 6:09 pm

You can fly on many inter-city routes in Australia and never see a mine. If you do see one, chances are it will be a quarry for rock, sand or gravel for construction.
Mines can be operated within project areas of 20 square kilometres on average. Some shallow, open cut mines like for coal are rather larger than this, but many other mines are smaller. Even a total of 1,000 mines of this area, far more than we have, would take up 20,000 sq km of Australia’s total land area of 7,700,000 sq km, some 0.025% of the total land – temporarily.
Mine life seldom exceeds 30 years. Post-mining reclamation is of excellent standard in Australia, with most of the mine effects being hard to find after another 30 years.
The authors of this paper seem to have disconnects from the reality of easily-measured life and size of mines.
Geoff S

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
September 3, 2020 6:38 pm

Correction, 0.25% of total land area. Geoff S

Geoff Sherrington
September 3, 2020 10:15 pm

The basic premise is screwed.
Mining is not a threat to biodiversity.
Biodiversity claims are a major threat to mining.
Without modern mining, we do not have the money or means for best biodiversity management.

Vincent Causey
September 4, 2020 12:14 am

The Greens keep telling us we are using the resources of “three Earths” in their effort to make us cut back. But their logic curiously does not seem to apply when extraction for “renewables” are concerned. I wonder how long before the majority of the genuine Greens will start to become alarmed at the huge proliferation of mining that will happen soon. But since you can count on the mainstream media to avoid reporting on these inconvenient facts most likely they will never find out.

Reply to  Vincent Causey
September 4, 2020 9:30 am

You will have noticed a heavy emphasis on recycling and reuse in green policies perhaps?

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  griff
September 4, 2020 8:11 pm

For an example, over 95% of the gold that has ever been mined can still be accounted for. That is but one example of recycling. What a shame for you to have to admit that the recycling was routinely put into effect and made to work, long, long before silly green ideas were even in the thinking stage.
Industry owns and invented recycling. Greens have no claim to it.
A further example from when I worked in paper making. You might not know, but paper fibres can stand only 3-4 recycles before they lose their critical paper-making properties. The economics of paper recycling are largely determined by the abundance of used paper that can be verified as not so recycled already that it is already worn out. Thus, offcuts from printing presses are more valuable than fish and chips paper. There are regular schoolboy/girl howlers in green talk about recycling. Basically, it is mostly plain ignorant, laughable stuff that fails to reflect working experience because so few green have ever done productive or inventive work in the industries they claim they can improve.
But, you hang in there as a continuing drain on the economy, contented that you have made a career high of being accepted as a WUWT blogger. Geoff S

Joseph Zorzin
September 4, 2020 4:45 am

Wood is a renewable energy source and it doesn’t require mining- and it is sustainable and if used in a power plant- it provides base load power. This is why the Michael Moore filmed should never have included woody biomass power plants in with wind and solar.

It can be argued that it’s not feasible if not subsidized. Well, I suggest subsidies are everywhere in many products and services but not obvious- so the subsidy argument doesn’t go far.

Another argument against wood for energy is that it results in carbon emissions. Sure, but there is more carbon in the forests of North America every year despite a vast amount of harvesting. The carbon from an individual tree isn’t what should be tracked- but carbon in entire forested regions.

Also, most of the wood going into energy is a by product of long term forestry- so that we can all have that wonderful wood in our homes, furniture, and paper products. Most of the wood going into energy is just weeds in the forest that we foresters strive to remove. No other market exists for most of the lowest quality wood.

Oh, another knee jerk reaction against wood for energy is “it can’t go far to replace fossil fuels”. Yes, that’s true, but so what? It makes a contribution and of course there are many people, especially active in this site, who don’t think we need to replace fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, I practice forestry in Massachusetts- the home of the most fanatic forestry hating people on the planet. Not only do they hate wood for energy- they hate all logging- even when done to the highest standards. They’ve managed to kill several woody biomass power plants- they succeeded in stopping new pellet producing plants- and now are fighting to end all logging on almost a million acres of state forest land. If they win that- they’ll fight to end all logging on private land- and that will result in many of those owners selling their forest to developers including solar “farms”.

And, the same folks who hate forestry hate all fossil fuels- refusing to allow any new gas pipelines into the state, they’ve succeeded in closing all the coal power plants here and most of the nuclear plants with the rest to shut down soon. They hate forestry but they adore huge solar and wind farms- as long as they’re not in THEIR backyards.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 4, 2020 7:28 am

Yes they really do hate forestry. So far in Scotland, UK, they have managed to chop down an estimated 14 million trees to make way for legions of wind turbines.

Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 4, 2020 9:29 am

Trees planted in the last few decades as commercial timber on what was previous treeless terrain?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  griff
September 4, 2020 1:23 pm

commercial timber forests are better than no forests- it wasn’t “previous” if you go back far enough

no doubt all of the British Isles were once heavily forested

Tom Abbott
September 5, 2020 5:25 pm

From the article: “Renewable energy production is necessary to halt climate change and reverse associated biodiversity losses.”

No, “renewable” energy is not necessary, or desirable. Nuclear power generation is the only way to go if you want to eliminate CO2 production without destroying the economy at the same time. It’s about time the Greens woke up to this fact.

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